German Blue Rams - Not having any luck
Hi all...I have read that GBRs are both fairly easy and fairly difficult to keep. Being that the experiences have varied so greatly for a lot of people I decided to give it a go. I am not having any luck with them though. Here are my tanks parms, then the details of my experiences.
29G tank - moderately planted with a 65W CFL with a 6700K bulb
30% weekly water changes with dechlorinated tap water
4 Praecox Rainbows
2 Dwarf Gouramis
10 or so Ghost Shrimp
I have been cycled for about a month and started introducing the Rams 2 weeks ago. I bought 3 originally, and all died within a week, I thought it was due to the CAE I had in the tank (long story - also lost 2 Rainbows which looked like someone had taken and sucked their scales off of a spot on their body) which has since been removed. I figured that the CAE had essentially stressed the GBRs to death as it harassed EVERYTHING endlessly.
After removing the CAE, I purchased two more GBRs (appeared to be one female and one male) they are about an inch long for the smaller one (female) and 1.5 inches for the male. The male lasted 2 days and died, the female is still alive and seems to be doing well, but I am not hopeful she will last since I have not had luck so far. The male appeared to have his left eye popped out a bit, not sure if that was pre or post postmortem though =( (he did hide A LOT though, barely saw him for the first 24 hours, which was totally different then any other Rams that I have had in the tank).
They get fed frozen bloodworms, the rest of the tank gets flake or sinking pellets before I feed the worms. There are two rock caves in the tank, with driftwood hidey holes as well.
So after that long description. Any idea why the GBRs have died? Am I doing something wrong? I really want to have GBRs if I can, I am assuming that my water quality is fine since the otos are fine.
Are they showing clamped fins before dying?
The first 3 that I think were from the CAE harassment had the above description of fins. The last male that died I don't believe that he did, although he did hide a lot so it was tough to tell with the caudal fin, but the rest appeared to be normal. The female that's in the tank appears to look normal.
The problem is the pH most likely. I had the same sort of problem when I first started keeping GBRs and it took me quite a while to figure out why. Get your pH down below 7 if you want them to do well. I keep my main tank with the GBRs at 6.5 and I haven't lost any since and in fact my mated pair are now spawning regularly. I feed mine a combo of flake food and frozen blood worms. They also prefer softer water so knowing your gH and kH would be helpful. The other fish should do fine at a lower pH provided you adjust the pH slowly. I've figured out a way to safely do this if you need an explanation. I see two basic possibilities here as to why you are having problems.
1. The pH is too high. Like I said this is probably the problem.
2. Total dissolved solids may be too high. Over time evaporation from the tank that is not corrected by use of distilled or RO/DI water will cause the concentration of TDS in a tank. This will be gradual and fish that have been in the tank for a long time will adjust. New fish won't do nearly as well.
Here are the water parameters in my tank that contains:
3 german blue rams
5 orange von rio tetras
5 neon tetras
1 black neon tetra
A large population of ghost shrimp (20+)
A stable population of malaysian trumpet snails (approx 10 visible at any given time)
And here is a picture of my GBRs guarding their last group of eggs:
i have got 1 blue ram, after it was incorrectly sold to me as a bolivian, and my ph is 7.2 and hes doin really well. a lively happy lil fella ive had him for about a month
Well you get lucky from time to time. When I first started keeping them only 1 out of 6 of mine survived for any length of time at a pH of 7.2. I shifted the pH down to 6.5 and I've never lost a ram in that tank since and its the only change I made.
lucky i didnt get more than 1 then lol
Do you think that my TDS would be high with 30% weekly changes?
Indeed it is. And assuming you don't need large quantities of RO water (ie you don't have 40 tanks that need it) theres no need to buy an RO unit. RO water is available from most LFSs at about 50 cents a gallon. You will need a means of reconstituting such water with needed mineral content however. Personally I use drops that are designed for it. Anyway here is the method I used to slowly shift my pH and hold it steady at 6.5. This could be used to adjust the pH to any desired level really, up or down. First of all you'll need a test to determine your kH or alkalinity aka the buffering capacity of your water. I have a feeling its going to be pretty high in your case. The first step you have to take is to lower this number to the range of 10-20 ppm. This can be done via water changes with distilled or RO water (reconstituted). If you test this water it should have a kH value of zero. Frequent partial water changes (4 gallons+ per day) will lower the overall kH value of your tank water to the needed level without adversely affecting pH. Once this has been achieved its time to use the distilled or RO water to adjust the pH. Get some buffering powders (I use seachem discus buffer and neutral regulator) and follow the instructions on how to add them to get a desired pH. Go for something halfway between what you have now and what you want for the initial steps. Go back to doing your frequent changes with this new pH adjusted water. I reccomend adding it slowing via siphoning with airline tubing. Eventually your pH will lower to the lower level of the water you are adding. Repeat this step to lower the pH again to the actual level you wanted. Water changes from this point on should be done with RO or distilled water that has been reconstituted for mineral content and adjusted for the pH in your tank to hold things steady. Your kH at this point should be around 30ppm and will stop the pH from shifting.
This process takes quite a while but it is very effective on a stocked tank as the changes happen very gradually allowing the fish time to adjust. It has the added bonus of significantly reducing nitrates and other harmful substances in the water. The price for doing this is not very high. I used bottled distilled water for my main tank with this method. Costs 2 bucks for 3 gallons. The pH powders are not overly expensive either and last for quite a while. Once you have adjusted the pH to the value you desire the upkeep cost on this depends on the frequency of water changes. I do two 5 gallon changes a week on my tank and use another gallon of distilled(with no additives) to cover evap loss. Approximate cost is 8 dollars a week. Walmart sells RO water at about half the price of the distilled that I buy and would lower the cost to 4 dollars a week or less.
IMO its worth spending less than 10 dollars a week to keep my aquarium in great shape. My smaller tanks with less pH sensitive fish get the standard tapwater treatment with some distilled water to make up for evaporation but in the case of keeping fish like GBRs and discus its always easier to adjust the tank to suit them than to hope the fish adjust to suit the tank.
i wouldnt try anymore blue rams in a tank with that ph, my tank has the exact same ph but i have bolivian rams and they are doing very well. The bolivian ram is very similar to the blue but has less colorful colors and is much more hardy.
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